Wednesday is Farmers’ Day at the State Fair with lots of special activities, all focused on agriculture. One special program that has been ongoing throughout the Fair in the 4-H complex is helping visitors understand the real life aspect of farming. It is a game called Commodity Carnival. Tony Carrell with Indiana 4-H says the game is designed to teach people about how risky agriculture is, “People who are not familiar with farming now have a better understanding that farming is not just about producing food but also about managing risks.” The game was developed by Ohio State University and comes as a kit that 4-H Jr. Leaders can learn and then operate in a county or state fair setting. Carrell said Indiana received the game as part of a grant from the National 4-H Council.
Claire Slomski has been one of the 4H youth showing fair visitors how to play the game, “A lot of the children who participate are not from the farm.” She said those who play Commodity Carnival come away with a better understanding of commodities and agriculture, “I think that one of the biggest positives of this game is kids who normally would not understand how food gets from the farm to their plate, I think they grasp that concept a lot better after they play this game.”
In the game, players must raise a pig, feed it, as well as deal with disease, feed costs, government regulations and the market. At the end of the game, the players sell the pig and find out if they made or lost money on the sale.
The Commodity Carnival game was underwritten by a grant from the CME group. Laurie Bischel with the CME said they wanted a program that would help young people grasp the need for commodities and for risk management, especially in agriculture. She told HAT the game has been played at 130 county and state fairs this summer. Twelve county fairs in Indiana used the game, and Carrell said it was very easy for Jr. Leaders to learn, even those who did not come from a farm background.
Commodity Carnival can be found on the 2nd floor of Centennial Hall in the 4H complex on the Northwest corner of the fair.